The 2011 Champions League Final between Manchester United and Barcelona on FOX TV in the United States was the most watched and highest-rated Champions League Final in U.S. history, according to national ratings figures released by Nielsen Media Research.
FOX and FOX Deportes generate a 2.1 household rating and 6 share, drawing an audience of 4.2 million viewers nationally, dwarfing the ratings and audience of a year ago by +75% and +91%, respectively. The 2010 UEFA Champions League Final between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich, which aired on FOX and Fox Sports en Español (now FOX Deportes), combined for a 1.2 HH rating with an audience of 2.2 million.
The FOX over-the-air broadcast earned a 1.4/4 household rating/share, with an audience of 2.6 million viewers compared to a 1.0 HH rating and 1.6 million viewers a year ago, +40% in rating and +63% in audience. Simultaneously, FOX Deportes notched a 0.7/2 rating in total US homes for this year’s match, with an audience of 1.6 million, +133% in HH rating (0.3) and +167% in audience (600,000).
Significantly, the English-language broadcast of Saturday’s match beat the 2009 Champions League Final which also featured Manchester United and Barcelona by +56% in rating (1.4 vs. 0.9) and +86% in audience (2.6 million vs. 1.4 million). Combined, the 2011 match on FOX and FOX Deportes bettered the 2009 match by +62% on rating (2.1 vs. 1.3) and +24% on viewership (4.2 million vs. 2.1 million).
U.S. viewership of the UEFA Champions League Final has exploded in recent years. This is the seventh straight year that English-language viewing of the Champions League Final has increased in the U.S. Over the last 10 years, viewing has increased almost 10-fold, from 264,000 viewers on ESPN in 2002 to 2.6 million on FOX this year.
Soccer continues to draw an impressively young audience. Saturday’s match earned a 1.8 among Men 18-34 on FOX, which is +29% higher than the HH rating. It’s exceptionally rare for a sports event to be that much stronger among the younger demo than it is overall.
In terms of the Spanish-language audience, FOX Deportes’ telecast of the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final is the highest-rated ever on Spanish-language television and generated the biggest audience for any event in the history of Spanish-language sports networks. The match attracted 1.5 million Spanish language viewers, a record for any Spanish-language sports cable network in the U.S., up +206% compared to the 2010 Champions League Final, more than tripling the number of Hispanic viewers (490,000) from a year ago. The match pulled a 13.0 coverage area HH rating, the third-highest in the network’s history and up an incredible +152% versus last year’s 5.15 Final.
FOX Sports Media Group recently extended its contract with the UEFA Champions League through 2015.